Tuesday, 20 December 2011

#20 Handmade Christmas

I think handmade Christmas gifts are often the most thoughtful and delightful of all. The following are my top ten, but they aren’t by any means in ranking order.
1. Knitted gift. This can come in the form of a scarf, hat, gloves, socks, a child’s toy... Choose the right yarn and knit with care, and you could have something that looks like it’s come from the knit wear department. If you’re a novice knitter, though, be warned. It may be wise to stick to scarves until you have mastered your stitches. I remember producing a rather disastrous pair of gloves for a friend’s birthday present once...
2. Truffles. Again, an easy make, but can look professional, particularly if these are displayed in a nice box. Recipes can vary, but Spud and I tried one consisting of melted chocolate and fine biscuit crumbs, which we’re going to use to make wedding favours.
3. Cross stitch. The thing I like about cross stitch is that it can be used in a variety of gifts: bookmarks, murals, Christmas tree decorations... And there are so many different designs that the stitcher can improvise to create something to suit everybody.
4. Gift boxes. While this isn’t strictly handmade, it can incorporate other handmade gifts. Take a box or basket, and fill it with little gifts that the recipient will love. Another variation on this idea is to make a stocking and fill it with small presents. This is something that might suit an adult or a child 

5. Handmade Christmas cards. Not a gift, but could mean a whole lot more than a shop bought gift. Handmade cards can stand out from all the rest. I have received some lovely ones in time, many of which were made by my soon to be sister-in-law Tamara.
6. Salt dough decorations. As long as you’ve got the right recipe, these can last for years. But if you get the consistency wrong then they’ll go soft or crumbly. Experiment a bit, and when you have the perfect batch, decorate them. Cover them with paint or glitter. You could even varnish them. Don’t forget, when you are cutting out the shapes, make a hole in the top to thread ribbon through.
7. Handmade jewellery. This is something I never really got into, but I know of people who have made some wonderful pieces. You can buy kits, or you can buy the components individually, depending on your style. These are gifts that will be delighted in.
8. Photo gifts. Again, something that can be used in a variety of shapes and forms: mugs, mouse mats, photo books, t-shirts, or simply a picture in a frame. This can be a real personal touch, and keep a good memory alive for years to come.
9. Jams and preserves. This is one of Treasure’s gift ideas. She makes jams and preserves all year round to sell in aid of charity, and has put some different samples together in gift boxes to give to some of her friends.
10. Advent calendar. This would suit a child and could be made out of anything, from card doors concealing festive artwork, to fabric pockets for chocolate treats. I can even picture a cross stitch advent calendar in my mind. It’s something that could potentially become an heirloom. 

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